Costco Mock Interview

To help you prepare for a Costco job interview, here are 40 interview questions and answer examples.

Costco was updated by on June 16th, 2023. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 40

Tell me about yourself.

This introductory question is meant to break the ice and allow the interviewer to get a glimpse of the real you. They are looking for a particular type of person to fill this role within their company, and the more you are yourself, the better of an idea they'll have of whether you are the right fit for this job and their teams. So feel free to be yourself and let your personality shine.

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40 Costco Interview Questions & Answers

Costco prides itself on being a meritocracy, willing to offer a very competitive fair wage based on the skills and experience level a recruit brings. However, there is one aspect of Costco that is especially unique. If you have leadership or management experience, or experience in a particular department, don’t expect to be immediately hired into a similar position. Costco advertises they are committed to every team member being “homegrown” and that only their employees will be entrusted with leading their teams.

They advertise that they are dedicated to recognizing and rewarding their employees for their hard work and loyalty and that most of their management teams are promoted from within. “Today, we have warehouse managers and vice presidents who were once stockers and cashier assistants or who started in clerical positions for Costco. We have accountants, lawyers, buyers, and human resources personnel who began their careers as stockers or cashiers in our locations. We believe that Costco’s future executive officers are currently working in our warehouses, depots, and business centers, as well as in our home and regional offices.”

This means that it is more likely than not that you’ll start in their warehouses, depots, or business centers. This is their approach to onboarding, which they consider the best way of learning the business from the inside out before moving up within the company. “This philosophy also ensures promotional opportunities for motivated individuals.” When preparing for your interview, consider how this aligns with your current career goals and the commitment to working your way up from the bottom. Carefully plan how to justify your professional worth when negotiating a merit-based salary. And adjust your career goals to align them with Costco’s approach to promoting from within.

  • Accomplishment

    1. Tell me about yourself.

  • Adaptability

    2. What is your availability?

  • Adaptability

    3. Tell me about the last time you had to adapt to a major change in your workplace.

  • Behavioral

    4. How would your references describe you?

  • Behavioral

    5. What is your best personal trait?

  • Behavioral

    6. What are your greatest strengths?

  • Career Goals

    7. Where do you see yourself in the Costco organization in two years?

  • Career Goals

    8. Why do you want to work here, and why should we hire you?

  • Career Goals

    9. What motivates you in your work?

  • Career Goals

    10. How does Costco fit into your overall career plans?

  • Career Goals

    11. What position at Costco would you most like to work?

  • Career Goals

    12. What is your personal mission statement?

  • Career Goals

    13. How do you feel about working your way from the bottom up?

  • Communication

    14. Do you think it is possible to be a good team member, yet disagree with the leader?

  • Communication

    15. Tell me about the last time you had to delegate a job to someone.

  • Compatibility

    16. Would you enjoy handing out samples, socializing and promoting products to Costco members?

  • Compatibility

    17. How do you expect to make a difference at Costco?

  • Compatibility

    18. How do you define good member service?

  • Compatibility

    19. Describe a perfect retail environment.

  • Competency

    20. What do you know about Costco's working environment?

  • Competency

    21. How does Costco stand apart from the competition?

  • Customer Service

    22. How well do you handle customer complaints?

  • Customer Service

    23. Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond for customer service?

  • Diligence

    24. What would you do if a coworker asked you to help them steal?

  • Direct

    25. It seems that you've been out of work for a while. What have you been up to during that time?

  • Discovery

    26. What is your desert island movie?

  • EQ

    27. What are some of your weaknesses?

  • EQ

    28. Tell me about the last time you made a mistake at work.

  • EQ

    29. How do you balance your personal life with your work life?

  • Experience

    30. Do you shop at Costco?

  • Experience

    31. Do you have any merchandising experience?

  • Experience

    32. Tell me about your retail working experience.

  • Leadership

    33. Tell me about a time you led a team. What was your biggest success factor?

  • Leadership

    34. Tell me about someone who served as a mentor to you.

  • Leadership

    35. Tell me about a time you had to be a leader. What was the outcome?

  • Problem Solving

    36. If given a choice, which work-related task would you leave for last and why?

  • Problem Solving

    37. What sources do you turn to when solving a complicated problem?

  • Problem Solving

    38. When a problem requires a quick solution, how do you respond?

  • Situational

    39. If you found a twenty-dollar bill in the parking lot, what would you do?

  • Teamwork

    40. Tell me about the type of team members you dislike working with.

  • Questions to Ask Your Costco Interviewer

    Information is limited on Costco’s career web pages. So your research will have to rely on what word of mouth is available online or those you’ve spoken with. Therefore, it’s worthwhile to ask Costco employees some questions next time you shop there. Also, spend time familiarizing yourself with the store, observing, and thinking of some questions to ask from the customer’s point of view. Arrive for your interview at least a half hour early and walk up and down every aisle, taking note of what you see.

    Lastly, try to answer any questions you think of on your own before posing them to your interviewer. This will showcase your thorough work ethic and attention to detail and ensure the questions you ask are well thought out and distinct from what the other candidates might ask. Here are five sample questions you could ask in your interview, but be sure to spend time trying to think of several more on your own.

    1. What is your favorite aspect of working for the company?

    2. I have open availability, but I am curious how long it would take to have paid my dues and be considered as having earned the privilege of having a more consistent schedule.

    3. I saw online that Costco has a high demand for supervisors and managers and that they are actively promoting from within. I understand, of course, one’s trajectory relies on a wide variety of factors, and every situation is unique. However, considering the leadership experience of someone such as myself, what would you consider an average period for a top performer starting in the warehouse to progress into a leadership position?

    4. I’d be interested in learning what an average workday looks like when everything goes according to plan. Would you be willing to break down the routine of the store from the earliest shift to the last when they're shutting off all the lights at night and locking up?

    5. I have an ironclad attendance record and rarely call out sick. However, I do focus on my well-being and take extra measures to schedule time off when I think I need it. I am no stranger to working a demanding schedule. How much competition is there for scheduling time off, and how difficult it is to have time off approved?

    Costco's Company Culture

    Costco details the efforts they go to earn the trust and loyalty of their customers and employees. They also recognize that their employees are some of their most loyal customers and try to create a culture of fun, trust, and collaboration. “If you hire good people, give them good jobs, and pay them good wages, generally something good is going to happen.”

    But the heart of the culture is in their commitment to providing “members with high-quality goods at the lowest possible price in a way that is respectful to the environment and to the people and the animals that produce these goods.” They also try to create a sense of urgency through their treasure hunt atmosphere. They’re able to offer many of these items at a low cost due to them being one-time opportunity buys. “One of the most exciting things about shopping in our warehouses is you never know the kind of incredible deals you’ll find from one visit to the next! Costco members know the trick to get the best value on exclusive or one-time-buy merchandise: Visit often! And, because we rotate out and introduce new merchandise all the time, we encourage you to purchase items that interest you sooner rather than later to avoid missing out.”

    The founder of the company refers to Costco’s employees as ambassadors. So they expect every employee to be service-oriented individuals who are ambitious, energetic, and enjoy working with a variety of diverse customers in a high-paced environment. One of the main principles of their customer service philosophy is very simple, “Take care of our members.” They also pride themselves on rewarding the merit and loyalty of their employees through generous pay, generous benefits, and career opportunities and advancement. But they don’t spend much time or effort advertising this on their website. This is another aspect of James Sinegal’s approach to building the company. Costco doesn’t advertise to its customers or employees. Instead, they rely on word of mouth. “We have always said that the most significant advertising is when other people are saying nice things about you.”

    About the Author

    The retail environment I managed in Seattle, WA, had many similarities to Costco, albeit on a much smaller scale. We didn’t have large backrooms or warehouses attached to our stores, and any shipments we received went straight onto the shelves. We received shipments around the clock and had shifts starting as early as 2:30 am and ending as late as 1 am. We offered great benefits and matching retirement contributions, and our company was expanding quickly, with many advancement opportunities.

    It was rumored as a fantastic place to meet people (which it was) and became a cultural phenomenon overnight. You got to socialize with other hip people, and it was a fun place to work. We were a family and wanted our family to be happy. But it wasn’t an easy job. It was hard, athletic work; fast-paced, tough physical labor, where everyone did everything, and you had to be good at organizing chaos. If you wanted to go places within the company or earn seniority, you had to pay your dues. The schedule could be rough, and getting time off approved, or even two days off in a row, really depended on how talented the schedule writer was and whether the person requesting it had earned it. Those who were cut out for the job preferred the lifestyle it offered and stuck around.

    Yet, on occasion, an employee would come along who’d constantly ask others to trade schedules or chronically called out sick for other priorities. The rest of the team would grow annoyed with that person, the schedule writer, and the leader who hired that person. That one employee would inevitably end up negatively infecting the morale of everyone else on the team and every facet of the job.

    This is one challenge an interviewer faces when determining whether a candidate is pursuing the job for the right reasons. So, anytime I interviewed someone, it was my mission to find out why they wanted to work for us. Were they after the lifestyle, the opportunity for growth, or were they in it for the money, the benefits, and a fun and breezy job to cruise along in until something better came along?

    Throughout every interview I conducted, I’d always be curious about what a candidate might volunteer. One candidate I interviewed, for example, insisted he had open availability and was willing to work nights, mid-shifts, mornings, and any day of the week. He liked the vibe of our company and had the attitude and the look. It was a good interview, and I liked him. But I could tell he was holding something back and not being completely forthright.

    Toward the end of the interview, I asked about his hobbies and other interests. That’s when he enthusiastically shared that he led a rock band, which performed 3-5 nights a week at a local venue. This was his passion pursuit and his priority in life. There was little doubt in my mind he was more committed to this than working nights or early mornings at our store.

    Likely he thought he was saying what I wanted to hear to win the job. But getting the job wouldn’t have been a win for him, especially when it came time to work the hours he’d committed to. And he did eventually tell me what I wanted to hear: the truth. I discovered his passion and instantly knew the job we were offering didn’t align with his goals. In all fairness, he was just looking for a part-time job to support his pursuits, network with like-minded individuals, and build more of a band following. And that’s fine.

    An outsider might assume everyone who worked there was having fun, and because of how happy everyone was, it seemed like a pretty laid-back job. Yet, had he learned what the job looked like, he would have realized it wasn’t the right fit for his goals, aspirations, or lifestyle. He may not have known it at the time, but I was doing him a favor by not hiring him. It wouldn’t have worked out for him or us. It would have thrown off his balance and conflicted with the pursuit of his passions.

    He had everything he needed to succeed in pursuing the job that was the right fit for him. He upended his life by moving from Texas to Seattle for the opportunity to break into the vibrant music scene of the Great Northwest. He was willing to sacrifice anything and do whatever it took to make it. This was his passion, and it was the job he enjoyed doing most. Had he been equally passionate about working for us, I would have hired him on the spot. Yet it wasn’t the right fit for him or us, and he wasn’t honest with himself about that. This is why it’s important to evaluate your goals. If everything lines up, and the lifestyle of the job you're pursuing works for you, even if your passions lie elsewhere, be honest with yourself and your interviewer every step of the way. Sometimes, that’s all it takes.

    Learn more about Kevin Downey